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Thyme-Griddled Chicken with Smoky Chilli Butter

Updated: May 28

by Diana Henry from A Bird in the Hand (Octopus)

Photography: Laura Edwards

Easy – it’s just griddled chicken with a flavoured butter – but mouth-wateringly good. Perfect for a summer supper, or a cool early autumn evening.


Serves 8


For the butter

250g (9oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 red chillies, halved, deseeded and finely chopped

3 tsp smoked paprika

leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme, plus more sprigs to serve

juice of ½ lemon


For the chicken

8–16 skinless boneless chicken thighs

olive oil

about 1 tbsp cayenne pepper

salt and pepper



To make the butter, just mash all the ingredients together and refrigerate. When the butter has firmed up, put it on to a piece of greaseproof paper and roll it into a neat sausage shape. Wrap in the paper and chill.


Hammer the chicken thighs so that they are flattened (use a meat mallet or a rolling pin). Brush with oil and season with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.


Heat a griddle pan and cook the chicken on both sides, initially on a high heat to get a good colour. Do not turn the chicken thighs until they will lift easily from the pan, or you will tear the flesh. Reduce the heat under the griddle to cook right through (about eight minutes).


Serve the chicken with a round of the flavoured butter on top; it will start to melt as soon as it hits the hot flesh. Scatter with sprigs of thyme.

Drinks tasted on air alongside the dish.

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